NEW YORK, June 21, 2017 /Weed Wire/ — On February 21, 2017, Jawara McIntosh, son of legendary reggae artist Peter Tosh, was beaten into a coma at Bergen County Jail in New Jersey while serving a six-month sentence for marijuana related charges. Jawara’s mother Melody Cunningham and his nine siblings including his sister Niambe McIntosh, the administrator of the Estate of Peter Tosh, seek justice on his behalf and will pursue a civil rights lawsuit against Bergen County Jail for directly participating in and/or for failing to prevent Jawara from being beaten into a coma while in their custody. The family retained civil rights attorney Jasmine Rand who is known for fighting against police brutality and systemic inequities having represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and local counsel Shelley Stangler who has handled multiple significant civil rights cases. Civil rights leaders including Reverend Al Sharpton and Ndaba Mandela, the grandson of Nelson Mandela, support Jawara and his family.
Peter Tosh was an original founding member of The Wailers, alongside Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. Peter Tosh and Bob Marley co-authored the world-renowned freedom fighters anthem, “Get Up, Stand Up,” which was adopted as Amnesty International’s official song. Ironically, Peter Tosh’s own son now remains in a coma struggling for his life due to the same injustices his father fought against. Ndaba Mandela, has lent his voice from across the globe calling for Justice for Jawara. “Like my grandfather Nelson Mandela, Peter Tosh was a real revolutionary. Peter adamantly opposed the apartheid regime performing at antiapartheid concerts at a time when my grandfather was imprisoned for fighting for equal rights of Black South Africans. Now, his son Jawara remains in a coma after being brutally beaten while in custody on marijuana charges. We cannot be silent in the face of such inhumanity.”
Jawara McIntosh is 37 years-old, and like his father is a reggae artist known by the stage name “Tosh 1.” Jawara is a practicing Rastafarian and advocate for the legalization of marijuana, having recently performed at the Freedom Rally in Boston, Massachusetts. Within the Rastafari faith cannabis is a sacred herb, and has many known medicinal properties and values. Peter Tosh wrote and performed the iconic song, “Legalize It;” which became the soundtrack of the movement toward legalization of cannabis and which Jawara regularly performed. Family attorney Jasmine Rand states: “Many states and nations have begun the process of the legalization of cannabis in recognition of its medicinal, spiritual, industrial and recreational value; but far too many people continue to be stripped of their freedom for cannabis related charges resulting in mass incarceration, police brutality, and murder. Criminalizing cannabis legalizes the deprivation of human rights.” Jawara’s family calls for justice: “Our family will fight harder now than ever to Legalize It. We know that our father is here with us today strengthening our voices to fight for his son Jawara, and for our brothers and sisters throughout the world in jail, brutalized, or murdered over an herb that has the power to heal nations.”